Building Your B2B Brand for 2020
As the end of a decade looms and many sectors are considering their festive shut down, a cautious marketeer would have one eye on the coming year, even if the other is cast over a rafter of mince pies.
Use the sleepy, ‘dark days before Christmas’, to squirrel away your best ideas for the coming year and begin to shape its fortune. The following processes should put you in good stead for the coming year and give you the peace of mind that only comes with a robust marketing plan in place, and conjures that smug satisfaction that you’ve really earned those pigs in blankets.
You can’t look forward without looking back. Collate all of your marketing campaigns and efforts from the past year and create an annual report. Really endeavour to scrutinise your work and squeeze as much insight from your metrics as possible. Even consider what competitors have done and how market share has shifted over the past 12 months.
Marketing metrics should be paired with real commercial outcomes, where possible, and refinements can be made on how campaigns were planned and executed. Consider the aims you started out with at the beginning of the year, did you really penetrate that market you were targeting? Did you boost your brand awareness in a certain sector? And did your marketing create a genuine difference to the company?
You can only hope to plan for the next year if you analyse your recent successes and failures and draw insight from them.
Your Annual Strategy
Use takeaways from your annual report of 2019 and consider the business plan for 2020. It’s in these instances where sales, marketing and those who plan for business commercials really need to get their heads together. Do not attempt to create a marketing plan in a silo, with insight based on presumptions of the direction of the company, that’s how internal chasms are widened.
An annual marketing strategy may seem like a daunting task but its easier to manage when you cut it down into quarters. Things to consider when creating your strategy:
- Concentrate on Q1&2 initially, if you have any big events or campaigns in Q3&4 add them to the plan but make sure you focus detailed attention on the first half of the year
- Consider the business plan in terms of new products and service offerings, will you be creating specific campaigns for their launch/repositioning? Plot those into the calendar
- Who will you be targeting this year? Is there some seasonality that your potential clients have to deal with, can you create content or campaigns around this, if so, plot them in
We’ve recently written about the benefits of event marketing as part of your PR strategy so let’s not labour this point too much, basically, if you’re in B2B, you should be thinking about what events are coming up in the next year. Consider:
- Firstly, owned events. What events can you run as a company that will allow you to offer insight to potential clients and put you at the forefront of your specialism? Owned events are particularly effective in gaining authority and you have a captive audience to receive your marketing messaging (n.b. don’t actually hold the audience captive)
- Speaking opportunities, what events can you see being a good fit for your offering throughout the next 12 months? Get your slots booked in now
- Conferences and expos. Our advice when considering your annual conference plan is to consider your aims for the event. If you’re looking to make a name for yourself and spread recognition in your own industry, by all means, exhibit at an event geared around your own sector. If you’re looking for new business, exhibit at a conference that’s geared around your target audience’s sector
We lean on The Halston Network quite firmly to allow for collaborative content and campaigns. Think about who you have in your network, your partners, suppliers or even clients. Building authority and credibility in an industry is always easier when you have two pairs of hands. Think about:
- Your case studies. Can you make more of your relationships with really good, reliable clients? Can you celebrate how good they are through your own content, galvanising your relationship and highlighting your own brand in the process?
- Sector specific content. If you’re not the experts in a certain field but would like to consider a campaign or piece of content that discusses that market, reach out to an expert through written or video interviews
- The scholars. It’s really important to have links to your local learning institutions. At Halston Marketing we have deep links with both Leeds Beckett University , who we’re collaborating with on a sector specific white paper and Leeds University Business School with whom we organise events. Academics are an untapped source of current and deep learning in the industries you’d like to target and if you’re looking to build your authority, there’s no better stablemate
We’re taking the next few weeks to consider our own strategy for 2020, if you’d like help with yours, get in touch today.